Tom Pidcock's (Ineos Grenadiers) programme for the upcoming cyclo-cross season has been confirmed, with the young British star to make his debut next weekend and build form through to the World Championships in the USA at the end of January.
Pidcock had a breakthrough campaign in the elite cyclo-cross field last winter, before turning professional on the road with Ineos Grenadiers and making an even-more immediate impact, with victory at Brabantse Pijl and a first Grand Tour under his belt at the Vuelta a España.
In between, he won Olympic gold on the mountain bike in Tokyo, and he has consistently voiced his desire to maintain his commitment to all three disciplines. As such, his cyclo-cross season will be combined with a training camp with Ineos Grenadiers in Spain in January.
After capping his 2021 season with an impressive sixth at the World Championships road race in Belgium, Pidcock has enjoyed a period of rest at his base in Andorra, but will be in northern Europe next week to line up at the Boom round of the Superprestige series on December 4.
He will then race 10 times in less than a month, including six rounds of the World Cup series, before travelling to Spain to join his Ineos teammates for a 10-day training camp.
He will return to cyclo-cross the weekend before the World Championships, racing the Hamme round of the X2O Trofee and the Hoogerheide World Cup back-to-back before flying to the USA for Worlds, which take place in Fayetteville on January 30.
"That world title, that's what we're going for," Pidcock's coach, Kurt Bogaerts, told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Fayetteville is a course with opportunities for Tom, we saw that in the World Cup race. If he makes the crossing to the United States, it's not just to participate. His ultimate goal is to become world champion in three disciplines."
Pidcock will make his season debut in Boom next weekend, where he will meet 'cross and road rival Wout van Aert, along with the likes of Eli Iserbyt and Lars van der Haar, whose campaigns are already well up and running.
However, Bogaerts does not expect Pidcock to be competitive from the get-go.
"He will start in Boom in basic condition, with zero preparation for cyclo-cross. I don't expect much from it, it's been a long break, but he is very excited about it," Bogaerts said.
"We keep racing because it's good for him. But it's not possible to be top all the time. The road season is becoming increasingly important. If there is also a Grand Tour in it, then he commits robbery on his body with a specific preparation for the cross."
La Gazzetta dello Sport this week reported that Pidcock could be in line to ride the Giro d'Italia in May, with Richard Carapaz expected to lead the British team. Pidcock, who won the U23 version of the Giro and has long-term ambitions to win Grand Tours, will also have an eye on the Spring Classics.
This year he was third at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, fifth at Strade Bianche, 15th at Milan-San Remo and, although not quite on top form for the main Cobbled Classics, went on to win Brabantse Pijl and place second at Amstel Gold Race and sixth at La Flèche Wallonne.
Last year he rode 'cross Worlds before making his road debut at the Tour du Var in late February and he could opt for a similar approach this time, with a short stage race to warm up for the first Classics.
- December 4: Superprestige Boom
- December 5: World Cup Antwerp
- December 12: World Cup Val di Sole
- December 18: World Cup Rucphen
- December 19: World Cup Namur
- December 26: World Cup Dendermonde
- December 27: Superprestige Heusden-Zolder
- December 29: Superprestige Diegem
- January 1: X2O Trofee Baal
- January 2: World Cup Hulst
- January 22: X2O Trofee Hamme
- January 23: World Cup Hoogerheide
- January 30: World Championships Fayetteville
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